From her position at the intersection of medicine, data, health equity. and public health in the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Dr. Madhury (Didi) Ray has helped address the pronounced disparities in COVID-19 transmission, hospitalizations, and mortality in neighborhoods where many Black and Brown communities reside. To help level the playing field, Didi and her team utilized data and operational analyses to leverage resources across NYC government to locate testing sites, engage with groups who hadn’t received public health messaging, and address specific fears in tailored information sessions with trusted leaders, among other initiatives. Didi has fulfilled several roles in the COVID-19 emergency response, from standing up vaccine hubs to convening critical care leaders around crisis response to developing a model for physician-led community engagement.
Didi completed her MD at the Drexel University College of Medicine, earned an MPH from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health with a specialization in global health and a concentration in humanitarian studies, ethics, and human rights, and was a Fulbright Scholar in Ukraine during the Orange Revolution.
At points in my career, I’ve heard that you can either do data or policy, but not both. You can do clinical medicine, or you can do community engagement. While these ideas may have been relevant at some point, my lived experience has taught me that multiple intersecting identities can add up to something greater than the sum of its parts. I believe that that ‘something greater’ is necessary both to understand the complexity of the systems public health must tackle and to invent the new systems that must be built to replace them.